Be a member
Send article with e-mail
Your e-mail *
Friend e-mail *
CAPTCHA *
CAPTCHA Code *
Refresh CAPTCHA
Comment
* required fields
Send
More
- +
by Archaeology Newsroom

The Unknown History of Modern Athens: The Temporary Housing of Public Services of the New Capital in 1834

In 1834, when the Greek capital was transferred to Athens, the lack of appropriate buildings for housing public services led to the utilization of edifices, dating from the period before the Revolution of 1821, mainly churches and mosques, even ancient monuments. The sudden arrival of the Regency, settled in the winter in a city lacking the necessary substructure to receive it, can primarily be held responsible for the preservation of the old city and the reuse of the semi-ruined old buildings. As a result, the old urban tissue was urgently reconstructed without, however, any relevant program to have been designed In advance. Thus, the compulsory preservation of edifices that were under demolition became a restraining factor in the realization of the approved town planning.

However, besides the public services, the need the abundant antiquities to be sheltered was also imperative, pending the erection of a museum. Therefore, certain churches and the better- preserved ancient monuments were used for storing the ancient works of art.

The want of buildings suitable to house the functions of the capital of a modern European state brought to the attention of the officials the few available private mansions, the dimensions and the structure of which could meet such a role. The utilization of all these edifices was not, however, so temporary as it was meant to be at the beginning, therefore extensive restoration and other works were carried on in them, a tangible proof that the permanent buildings would not be available in the near future.

The study of the temporary installations of the public services of Athens reveals their compulsory accumulation in the old city as a result of the hasty transfer of the capital and the preservation of the old urban tissue that it caused. Consequently, all the urban activities are again gathered in the same section of the city as in the Ottoman period, a fact which restrained all attempts for the lay-out of the permanent edifices in the new town-planning of the city, in the framework of the creation of a modern European capital.